Fifteen local veterans are expressing their creativity in a three-part workshop at the University of South Florida called Breaking Barriers, designed to provide community support for local veterans through an educational and art-based experience.
The program, a collaboration of the USF Contemporary Art Museum and the School of Art and Art History, was developed by the museum's Dolores Coe and Leslie Elsasser as part of a statewide initiative to engage veterans with local museums.
"We know that the making of art, the actual involvement in creating, has real impact and is potentially a powerful tool for a lot of people, including veterans, in a lot of different ways," said Coe, curator of the museum's Art in Health program and the workshop's co-organizer, in a news release. "So, we wanted to explore that art making component."
The series began with a five-week photography course taught by instructor Jim Reiman of the Art Institute of Tampa. The course explored the tools and processes for creating photographic images, particularly portraits. Students learn every aspect of picture making – from conceptual skills to photography and lighting techniques, as well as digital post-production methods.
To activate transformative learning and provide language for visual experiences, participants will also take part in a facilitated discussion of the current exhibition at the USF Contemporary Art Museum, using the "visual thinking strategy'' during the second phase of the workshop.
The workshop will conclude with an exhibition of the veterans' work on Dec. 12 and Dec. 13 at the USF Contemporary Art Museum, which is open to the public.